imageClay Breshears, an Intel software network blogger offering his personal opinions, serves up a bunch of cons about e-books, but zeroes in on this:

"What really burns my biscuits is the ‘state-of-the-art’ in search capability that is so gosh darn literal.  If you don’t know the exact term you want to find, you’re surely outta luck.  For example (and this comes from a search engine since I don’t have an e-book reader), I was trying to find the online article "The ‘Anti-Java’ Professor and the Jobless Programmers," which I had read about a month prior.  Since I didn’t know the exact title, I tried "java unemployed programmer" as a search term.  After hundreds of hits for out-of-work Java programmers looking for jobs, I gave up.  I searched through my email archives with the same terms and came up blank.  Only after poring over my e-mail by hand did I find the URL I was looking for."

He continues:

Perhaps a more relevant example would be looking for a quote by a character in a novel I had just read.  I knew about where this was in the book and what was going on when the quote was given, so I could open up the pages and look forward and backward, skimming text looking for the exact quote.  Since I only had an idea about the content of the quote and not the exact words I needed to identify what I wanted to find, I can only imagine wasting tens of minutes doing an electronic search with variations of the key words trying to locate what I wanted.

OK, gang, go to work while remaining civil. Even with the current limits of search in e-books, I myself can find things faster than in P. What’s more, I wouldn’t be surprised to see search technology eventually include Google’s fuzzy-style features—in addition to synonym capabilities. The real Google, of course, could offer this in Web-based titles, including networked books. And with Gears, who knows about fancy searches offline as well?

Related: Google now searching for synonyms, in Search Engine Land.

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